Never before have there been so many different diets. Many come with promises of weight loss and muscle bulking. Of course, we’re all different shapes and sizes and we all have different needs of the food we eat. If you’re a professional athlete chances are you have a sports scientist and nutritionist. They work together to carefully calculate exactly what your body needs to eat each day. But if you’re just trying to stay in good health and enjoy a good level of fitness, your dietary needs could be very different.
What you need to eat will depend on many factors. They could include:
Your current health and fitness levels
Any illnesses or long term health complaints you may have
Your genetic makeup
Your height, weight, and gender
Your preferred activity levels
If your activity levels increase or decrease, your dietary needs may also need to be adjusted. If you’re feeling stressed, tired, or run down, you may choose to eat more or less too. It’s very difficult to gauge exactly what you might need, which is why so many of us turn to the internet for advice. Of course, diet alone cannot provide your body with everything it needs to be fit and healthy. Stress management, regular exercise, and medication for any health conditions may also be required.
Lots of us know there is a relationship between protein and muscle building. Most of us are also aware that muscle weighs more than fat, and that tone muscles could play a part in improving the metabolism. Protein is found in many meats, but this does not serve all diets very well. Beans can also contain protein but the quantities needed to equal that provided by meat is quite high for some. This is why many bodybuilders turn to supplements to support their diet. Some of these contain a range of ingredients like D Aspartic acid and amino acids that may not offer as much support as you think.
Dietary changes are often the best way to approach the changing needs of your body. This isn’t always easy to do. We all have a good range of vegetables and fruits available to us, so there will always be an element of choice. When it comes to ensuring the full recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals are consumed, things become tricky. The amount of vegetables you would have to eat to get a day’s allowance is much larger than you may think, and more than you may want to consume. Therefore, supplements may be required after all.
Some foods, like children’s breakfast cereals, are often fortified to offer a boost of essential vitamins. B vitamins, in particular, are essential to development, function, and energy, but we rarely manage to find enough in our regular diets. If you’re trying to avoid processed foods, it’s clear it could be tricky. There could be missed opportunities to find the right quantities of vitamins and minerals needed.
Still, if you are willing to consume larger portions of fruit and vegetables, then you may be able to acquire all the basics that are needed by your body. Vitamins and minerals are essential to cell health, development and function. They serve the brain, the heart, the blood supply, the nervous system and more. We may get most of our energy for the sugars and carbohydrates we consume. But the vitamins and minerals play a part in the body using that energy effectively.
Good health and fitness go hand in hand. To have the energy to exercise effectively, you need the right diet. This includes all the main food groups:
Protein – from meats, eggs, beans, etc.
Carbohydrates – from grains, nuts, pasta, potatoes, etc.
Dairy – from milk and cheese as a source of calcium
Vegetables – to provide minerals such as magnesium and vitamins A and B vitamins
Fruits – for sugar as energy and vitamin C
Nuts and seeds – for vitamin E and other important minerals
Water – for hydration.
There are plenty of choices within each of these food groups. Some are so packed with goodness, they are called superfoods. Nuts and fruits are often classified like this because smaller portions are needed for greater benefits. Any diet that restricts these foods could leave you short and requiring a supplement instead.
Your diet alone can’t give you everything your body needs. There are simply too many variables to accurately calculate your needs anyway. A varied, healthy diet coupled with plenty of exercise is a good start, though. Try not to restrict your access to healthy produce and foods that could support your body.